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An exhortation to praise God with all kinds of instruments.
THIS is likewise a psalm of praise, in which the author calls upon men to magnify the Lord in every thing in which he chose principally to manifest his glory; and upon every kind of instrument. See the title to the fourth psalm.
Psalms 150:1. Praise God in his sanctuary— Or, In his holiness; i.e. "For the inexpressible purity and holiness of his nature." In the firmament of his power, means, "For the vast extent of his power, which is expanded and diffused over all his works." Mudge renders it, Praise him in the expanse of his strength.
Psalms 150:5. Praise him upon the loud cymbals— With the voice-cymbals. Mudge. The two kinds of cymbals, says he, seem one to be soft and low, and therefore to admit a voice to be heard; from whence the name: the other to be high and loud. But very frank and honest is the confession of Aben-ezra upon this subject. "We have no way to know what several of these musical instruments were; there being many to be found in the country of the Ishmaelites (i.e. Mahometans), which are not among the men of Edom; i.e. Christians; and others among them, which the wise men of Israel never heard of." It may be proper just to observe, that the Vulgate and other versions add another psalm at the end of this book; which they tell us in the title was written by David when he went to engage with Goliah. But the composition is evidently apocryphal, and unworthy the pen of David. See Chandler, vol. 1: p. 70.
"The book of psalms," observes Mr. Locke, "has in it a greater number of prophesies than any other book of the Old Testament. We cannot be mistaken in following the sense which the authors of the New Testament have fixed upon the psalms; who generally understood them in the same sense in which they were received among the Jews. Many psalms do so visibly mention the glory of the kingdom of the Messiah, after the destruction of the Antichrist, and the calling of all nations, who before never heard of the gospel, that the very Jews do understand them accordingly. Such, in their opinion, are the 90th psalm and following, to the 101st; and their testimony about the sense of these psalms may well be taken for a prescription against the pretended allegories which many commentators find in them, as if those psalms had been fulfilled already. Where the coming of the Messiah is spoken of, the psalms that mention it are commonly understood of his first coming, though both his coming the first and second time are often joined together. This may be seen in the 22nd psalm, and in the 2nd chapter of Isaiah, where both comings are put together, as if but one; though St. Paul has exactly distinguished them, 2 Thessalonians 2., Isaiah having marked out by the name of the wicked one, him whom Christ is to destroy at his second coming, as St. Paul explained it, and the Jews do acknowledge. It is plain that a great many psalms, where mention is made of his destruction, and where the church prays for it, do particularly concern the church and the Jews together: the Christian church, which shall then be delivered from the tyranny of her persecutors; and the Jews who are to be called again after the destruction of the Anti-christian kingdom. It cannot be doubted but that the psalms, where mention is made of the promise to the patriarchs, and where the fulfilling of them is prayed for, do peculiarly relate to the Jews in their last dispersion: so that if the Christian church sings them, she must look on them as so many tokens that God will one day call the Jews again. The poor—the afflicted—the remnant—do commonly signify the Jews. Mention is made in many psalms of Edom, as the oppressor of the Christian church, and the Jewish church too. The following prophets do clearly intimate that this ought to be understood of Rome, and her antichristian kingdom; from which it plainly appears, that those psalms ought accordingly to be so understood which mention the violence of Edom, and the destruction of Idumea."
REFLECTIONS.—Thirteen times in the compass of six short verses does the Psalmist repeat the exhortation to praise. His own heart glowed with gratitude; he would inculcate upon us the great and delightful duty of praise; and, because our cold hearts are so backward, he would rouse us from our lethargy, and stir us up to join his songs. Observe,
1. Where God's praise is to be expected. In his sanctuary below, where his worshipping servants must unite their voices to adore his name; or, in his holy one, Christ Jesus, for whom, and through whom, all the sacrifices of his people's praises ascend, and are accepted before God; and in the firmament of his power, above, where angels ceaseless adore him, and all glorified saints will shortly join them in this happy service.
2. Abundant reason there is for praising him, because of his mighty acts of creation, providence, redemption, and grace, wherein his excellent greatness, or the multitude of his greatness, appears: excellence above conception, and greatness so surpassing, that all our praises come infinitely short of his glory; yea, the highest angels, after their most enlarged adorations, own him far exalted above all blessing and praise.
3. The manner of our praises. With all melody in our hearts, and sacred joy, of which these instruments of music that were used in the service of the sanctuary, were typical: and as the union of various sounds and instruments heightens the harmony, so must the people of God united in love, unite their voices, with one mind and one mouth glorifying God.
4. Who must praise? Every thing that hath breath. The brute creation, though not with voice articulate, speak his praise. The sons of men throughout the world are called upon to use that speech which God hath given them, in this best employment of it; especially the living souls, quickened by the Eternal Spirit, have peculiar cause of praise, whether considering the distinguished privileges that they enjoy, or the greater glories which are before them. In heaven whither we are going, all will be praise. It is good to begin the happy service here, and antedate our joys; then, when our moment here below shall end, and this faultering tongue, unable longer to sustain the notes, is silent on the bed of death, borne upon angels' wings, our souls shall take their flight, and with enraptured exultation join the hallelujahs of the sky. Amen, and Amen!
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Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Psalms 150". Coke's Commentary on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 14 / Ordinary 19